Hobonichi Cover: Framboise Chocolat

As I have mentioned in my February TN EDC post, I have changed the cover holding my Hobonichi Techo, wanting to give the Zenkraft A6 TN a rest. I have also always wanted to try out the Hobonichi-brand covers ever since I decided to use the Techo for planning. Luckily, there’s a local online shop that offers some basic and some premium Hobonichi covers so I no longer need to import it myself. Granted, CraftyLane adds a bit extra on top of the retail price, but that does take into account the shipping cost from Japan and the hassle of picking up packages from the post office. I felt doubly lucky, as they offered the one cover I had wanted to try from the very beginning: Framboise Chocolat.


There should be no doubt why this is the one I wanted to try. It’s red! It’s quite a vibrant shade of red, which is exactly what I wanted. In addition, it came with a Cover-on-Cover, which is basically a plastic sleeve that is meant to go on top of the Hobonichi cover. It serves as extra protection for the actual cover, which probably is prone to dust and dirt. The cover is made of soft, durable polyester. To be honest I would have preferred a leather cover, but the red leather Hobonichi cover (Rosso) costs about 8x as much as this one.


Unlike traveler’s notebooks, the closing mechanism of this cover is not an elastic band. Rather, it is an affair of two penloops that keeps the cover closed when a pen is inserted in both loops. It does keep the cover closed securely enough, but it also means that I can only keep one pen with the cover. The penloops are in a nice chocolate brown color, which is the color of the interior of the cover, which we will see more of below. The penloops are also quite generously sized, and can take the fattest pens without problems. Here I am using a Pilot Coleto Lumio, which is of a medium thickness and as you can see there’s a lot of space left in the loops. A Lamy Al-Star, which is quite a bit fatter than my Lumio, fits quite comfortably with room to spare.


The back of the cover differs from the front, which is featureless. There is a full-length pocket at the back, which you can use to slot in random pieces of paper or ephemera.


The Cover-on-Cover also has a zip opening, which gives access to the back pocket quite nicely. I don’t really use this pocket though, as I find the inside pockets quite sufficient for my needs.


The Framboise Chocolat cover comes with two built-in bookmarks, with two differently shaped tags at the end in the same brown color as the inside of the cover. These are very handy for keeping my place in my daily pages, as well as marking my current monthly page.


The Cover-on-Cover has 2016 stamped on the spine, which I thought was mostly a nice touch. This means I can keep this year’s Techo in the cover with the Cover-on-Cover and it would allow me to easily know which year the book is on a shelf. This also means that I cannot reuse this particular Cover-on-Cover next year, which is not such a big deal if I were going to buy a new cover for the new Techo, which I probably am.


Let’s take a look at the inside of the cover! At the front there’s quite a lot of pockets. The Techo itself is slotted at the very back pocket.


There are four credit card sized pockets at the top, where I keep some stencils and washi samples. There is a tiny pocket at the very bottom, which can also hold a credit card if you so wish. I keep a tiny paper pad here. In front of the slot for the Techo is another full-length pocket, in which I keep some masking stickers.


The back cover on the other hand shows a different pocket configuration. Again, the backmost pocket is for the Techo itself. I added some dot stickers here. There’s another full-length pocket in front of it, which I keep some page flags. In front of that is a secretarial pocket, which I keep copies of my diabetes test results.


In conclusion, I really love this cover! I love the many pockets that I actually find I don’t use everything (surprisingly!). Perhaps the only factor that I don’t like is how thin the cover is, by which I mean I can really only put the Techo inside and nothing else. I had wanted to slot in my Hobonichi-brand photo holder or card holder but I find that it’s a too-tight fit.

Aside from that, the workmanship of the cover, even if it’s not made of leather, is impeccable. The polyester material feels sturdy and the stitching of the pockets is perfect. I really, really love the color of this! I’m definitely very pleased I got myself this cover, and gives me a very pretty cover to use when I want to rest the Zenkraft TN.



February 2016 in Hobonichi

Let’s take a look at how my February was in my Hobonichi A6.


As always I put reminders for the month on the “Coming Up” section, and I also keep up with my quote commentary. I did try out a new coffee tracker stamp, but I think I like it less than the one I used for January. I ended up using the January coffee stamp for March.


I wanted to highlight this page because of two things. One is the demonstration of the powers of Tomoe River paper in the obvious sheen in the ink I used for my quote commentary. It really makes me appreciate writing with fountain pens and makes me seriously consider doing more journaling in this type of paper. The second one is the topic of the quote, which is cats. I burst into laughter the first time I saw this quote. I can always talk about cats, and I can wax passionate about the rescuing of said cats and only the limited space kept me from filling the whole page (and the next!) from simply droning on about cats.


As I mentioned in a previous post, I had fallen sick twice in February. These few pages do reflect that, as I barely even looked at my planner in the days I was sick. It was only afterwards that I wrote in that “SUPER SICK” comments just to remind me in the future of what happened in these pretty much blank pages.


I have also started using some washi tape in my Hobonichi. There really is no purpose other than decorative, and I had initially been resistant to using washi tape because of the inevitable thickening effect to the Hobonichi. It really looks great though, so I will be continuing to insert some washi strips here and there especially on blank-looking spreads.


Lastly, I wanted to show you my monthly spread, which is located in the front part of the Hobonichi. The highlight here is the presence of the blue dots, which indicates the days I was successful in not buying washi tape, pens, stickers, and stamps. I have put these items in my “ban list” because I have too much of those, and I am determined to first use up my supply before I add to it. I was relatively successful for February except for a day when I bought new Coleto barrels from one of my favorite online merchants, Crafty Lane.

This might be my last Hobonichi update for some time. I really don’t foresee myself doing anything differently in the near future, so I would probably do a quarterly update instead of a monthly update after this one.

EDC TN: February 2016

There are of course still that urge to try something new, or to revisit something that one hasn’t used in a while. This results in differing EDCs, and here is what I used for most of February.

My Purse

From just a single TN last month, I’ve moved to a two-TN carry for my purse. I use my Gav and Sav Pocket TN in Cat Print as my wallet and my Zenkraft Red Zebra Micro TN as my portable notebook. To be honest, I suppose I could have used just the pocket TN and threw in a pocket notebook but I wanted to see if the micro TN is something that works for me. I paired the micro TN with a Pilot Petit fountain pen, in red of course, and it fits just right into the edge of the notebook.


My Work Bag

I had finally finished the last pages of my standard sized daily journal insert, and moved into a new insert but this time pocket sized. That allowed me to consolidate all of my currently used inserts into one pocket TN – the one I chose for this month is the Speckled Fawns Rustic Kodiak TN. I’m also still using the Hobonichi as my daily planner, but I decided to give the Zenkraft A6 cover a rest and got myself a Hobonichi brand cover from CraftyLane. I wasn’t sure I would like it, but so far it’s working for me. To keep the cover closed I used my Coleto pen, which I also got from CraftyLane. I will be sure to write about the Hobonichi cover and the Coleto pen in separate posts.


I also changed my craft case! I found that my biggest and fattest pen, the Lamy Al-Star Blue Green, does not fit comfortably in my old case and I really wanted to use this FP again. Luckily I was able to find a new pen case in National Bookstore that has bigger slots for pens. I stuffed everything in here and it seems to be working well for me. Again, I’ll write a separate post showing you all about this pen case.


My Office Desk

There is not really a lot of difference in the TNs I use in the office, except I switched out the blue Midori cover for the black. The black is newer, and I wanted to get a bit more use out of it.


January 2016 in Hobonichi

For December, I had started planning in earnest in my Hobonichi 2016 A6, but the pages were divided into two days per page. For January, the true day-per-page planning began! I still followed my color coding and task-oriented planning style.

You can click on the images for a closer look at the planner entries.


In every two-page spread, there is a quote at the bottom of the page. One of the new things I did for January was to journal my thoughts about each quote. It was a chance for me to stay in practice for writing, as I do miss some days in my daily journal, and it was also a great way for me to use my fountain pens in this really nice Tomoe River paper.


Another thing I changed was the coffee tracker. Instead of stickers that I used back in December, I instead stamped this coffee mug on every page to help me track how many coffee cups I have drank on those days. I was afraid that the book would become too thick if I used the same stickers, which were on the thick side.


That didn’t stop me from using stickers, though. As a way to decorate my rather bland pages, I used a set of Korean transparent stickers (cat themed, of course!) on almost every page to break up the monotony. These stickers are super thin, and barely added to the bulk of the book. On this spread, I also used the extra unused space to test out some new stencils that I got.


And I did end up with a lot of extra unused space. Some days were not as busy as the others, and so I just let it be kept blank. At first I was very bothered by all the empty area, but eventually I got over it by thinking that I can use these spaces for future use such as practicing brush calligraphy, taking notes, list taking, or journaling.


I find that this system of planning really works for me. I have already continued with the same style in February, and I see no immediate changes that I will be implementing. I feel extremely happy that I have found a great way to use my Hobonichi continuously, and I look forward to the end of the year when I can look back and see a well-used and well-loved book.


By the way, I did add a new insert to my Zenkraft Rustic Roadie A6, which continues to be the home of the Hobonichi. I was able to acquire a Hobonichi-brand photo holder from a fellow local planner, and I am currently using this to hold stickers and odd bits and pieces. In the front pocket of the Zenkraft is one of the stencils I mentioned earlier.


Here are some of the stickers I have in the photo holder. Because it is A6, I can only fit the smaller of my sticker sheets. Some of my bigger sheets I am able to trim down to fit the pockets.

December 2015 in Hobonichi

I had been really excited for December 16, for that marked the first available planning date in the 2016 Hobonichi. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was intending the Hobonichi to be my main planner for 2016, and it was such a great bonus that I could start using it for the last two weeks of December. Here’s a peek at my December pages.


The layout of the last two weeks of December is two-days-on-a-page. I like the fact that they decided to divide it vertically, which works very well with the way I do my planning (task-centered). My color coding is in full force, as well as my coffee intake tracking and restaurants visited. To a certain extent, I thought that this format was really well suited for me, and I wished that the rest of the planner was laid out this way.


There were several places where I didn’t really have a lot to write, especially since I went into a long vacation off work around this time. I used the extra space at the bottom for random things, such as book lists or crafting goals and other miscellaneous information. Washi tape comes in handy here for instant partitioning.


My daughter is a budding artist, and she made this drawing of one of our cats and allowed me to fussy cut it and stick it in my planner. There are also some random page flags that are used, but I couldn’t bear to throw them out after using them. Maybe I’ll reuse them at some point in the future. Even though I was on vacation, we had a lot of social appointments and I didn’t have a lot of time to try adding some decorations. I had been planning to decorate for Christmas day, but as you can see I only have my page flag reminding me to decorate!


This bit where I was trying out some new decotape runners I got for cheap irks me a bit. The quality reflected the price, which is why this looks really messy. I am just consoling myself that these are marks of use and I should not be ashamed.

All in all I really enjoyed using the Hobonichi for the last two weeks of December. I am now well into the day-per-page format and I can say that so far it seems to be working, and I don’t feel daunted having twice the amount of writing space. I can foresee myself going through with Hobonichi planning for the whole year, but also this early I can say that maybe the Avec would have been better.

Hobonichi A6 2016

Here it is! This is the planner I will be using for the entire 2016, which is quite the feat given that I have been changing layouts a lot for most of 2015. As I mentioned earlier, I am housing it in my Zenkraft Rustic Roadie A6, which is perfectly sized for this particular planner.


I wanted to show you the various sections of the Hobonichi, although there have been lots of posts written about that already. But I particularly wanted to show you how I will be using each of them.


The first spread you will see is a 2-year overview for 2016-2017. This is a great place for a quick glance at the whole year. I intend to keep this spread mostly blank, encircling only the dates when the first day of my periods start.


Next we have a four-month spread, arranged in columns. Luckily it starts in December 2015, so I was already able to start using this section. Having the whole month in one column gives a great way to look at trends, so I will be using this to track my weight (red), the days I am able to publish a blog post (purple), and the days I am able to exercise (orange). Having only an outline of a square means that I had scheduled a post/exercise but was not able to follow through. These monthly columns go all the way until March 2017.


After the monthly columns comes the month-on-two-page spreads, again starting with December 2015. This will be mainly used as an events/appointments planner, as well as tracking of birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. At the bottom I wrote down my color coding key, which I use for both the monthlies and the dailies. This section continues yet again until March 2017.


The next section is the last two weeks of December, arranged in a two-days-per-page layout. I’ll just be using the same type of task-oriented planning that I’ve been using for the past two months. I would really have liked the whole December to be included, but at least the 16th is almost here and I can finally move fully into the Hobonichi as my sole planner.


After December, the actual day-per-page planner starts. At the beginning of each month is a page with a “Coming Up” section, which can really be used for anything. I’m planning a general reminder or something like a top-5 for each month to help me stay on track and not overlook any events or important tasks. The opposite page is a good representative of the daily pages of the planner, and a number flag is printed on the side to denote which month you are looking at. There is a moon phase at the top, as well as a list of (incomplete) countries celebrating a holiday on that day. At the bottom is a Japanese quote translated into English, and a month-at-a-glance calendar at the bottom. Distinctive to the Hobonichi is the fact that almost the whole page is just made of faint grids with a 12 printed on the left margin in the case that you wanted to use this as a time planner. I don’t, so I just ignore the whole margin thing.


We get another of those two-days-per-page similar to December at the end of the daily pages, for the first week of January 2017. After that comes about 9 pages of dot grid paper that can be used for notes or whatever purpose you want. It’s not apparent in this photo, but the dots are actually in red.


Finally we get to some random useful information at the end of the book.


I’m really quite excited to get going with the Hobonichi! It will be part of my 2016 goals to keep using this planner consistently for the whole year, which I’m very optimistic about now that I know how writing on Tomoe River paper feels!

Will you be using a Hobonichi for 2016 as well? How do you intend to use it?

Hobonichi Planning Practice in a TN insert

If you are not yet aware of what a Hobonichi is, do take a quick look at this link for a primer. Go on, I’ll be patient.

Ok, now that you’re a bit more familiar with a Hobonichi, I’d like to say that I’m very tempted to take the plunge and check out this system. My primary motivation is being able to try the Tomoe River paper that it is made of, as I’ve heard many great things about it. I’m thinking about checking out the A6 size. The thing to note about the Hobonichi A6 (and the Cousin too) is that the planner is laid out in a day-per-page format, and it’s basically just a blank page. It’s definitely going to be quite different from what I’ve been doing so far, and I haven’t at all tried a day-per-page planning.

Strangely enough, there aren’t really a lot of resources about using the Hobonichi as a planner. Definitely there are lots of examples of it being used as an art journal, daily journal, junk journal, basically journaling stuff. I was quite happy to find a detailed post about planning in a Hobonichi from Wabi With Sabi, and it gives me a bit more confidence in pushing through with trying out the system. Hobonichi isn’t cheap, though, so to doubly make sure that the system is something I can work with, I came up with a layout in a traveler’s notebook insert to help me “practice planning” in a Hobonichi-type system.

I chose to work with a passport-sized TN insert, in this case the Midori Refill 003 (blank pages), as I thought this would be closest in experience to the A6 size. The basic idea, of course, is to have a day-per-page layout. Prior to those pages though, I drew in a monthly calendar. I have done something like this for October, and it’s a no-brainer doing the same for November.


The actual bulk of the planner is the day-per-page system. The actual Hobonichi planners have a grid on each page, but since I’m working with a blank insert I just chose to label the date, month, and day of the week on the upper left corner of each page. Honestly this is the part that’s giving me the misgivings, because there’s no structure at all and it’s basically anything goes! And the A6 is going to be much bigger than this!


I’m super excited to try this out though! I like planning challenges, and this is definitely going to challenge me. Most definitely the main objective of this insert is to help me find out if I can plan with a Hobonichi A6, so I expect there will not be a lot of decorations. If there are left over space after the planning is done, that would be the time I can let myself put in my decorations.

Have you planned with a Hobonichi? Do let me know how you did it!